TURNING 20! Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Cancer Walk & 5K Run

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Gail Parkins Ovarian Cancer Walk & 5K run

The 20th Annual Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Cancer Walk & 5K raised $250,000 for ovarian cancer research at Duke — bringing the 20-year total close to $5 million dollars.

Angeles Alvarez Secord, MD, MHSc, and Andrew Berchuck, MD, spoke at the event about the progress being made on the research front in the fight to end ovarian cancer. They also thanked event founder Melanie Bacheler and her family for two decades of support.




September 19 Event Post

Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Cancer Walk 20 Anniv
As Melanie Bacheler, founder of the Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Cancer Walk & 5K, and the Duke Cancer Institute gynecologic oncology program gear up for the 20th annual event, here are some memorable photos from the past five years, including Dr. Angeles Secord and Dr. Andrew Berchuck, patients, survivors, and other supporters, and Melanie Bacheler and her family. Melanie Bacheler and her mother Gail Parkins (for whom the event is named) are in the top center photo. Dr. Berchuck has participated in every single one of the events since its founding.

The 2022 Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Cancer Walk & 5K Run is gearing up for another banner year.

Presented by WTVD-Channel 11, this year's event — "20 years of Memories, 20 years of Progress" — will take place Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, at Sanderson High School in Raleigh.

Melanie Bacheler founded the event in 2002 to honor the memory of her mother Gail Parkins, who passed away at the age of 56 after a two-year battle with ovarian epithelial cancer. Over these past two decades, the event, which has raised $4.9 million in funds for ovarian cancer research at Duke Cancer Institute, has grown by leaps and bounds and adapted to meet the moment.

In 2020, the in-person Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Cancer Walk & 5K Run event was canceled for the first time ever, due to precautions around the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, 600 people on 64 teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana and even North Dakota stepped up for the cause and participated virtually (in their neighborhoods) — raising more than $170,000 — tracking and uploading their miles walked or run over the course of a month.

Andrew Berchuck, MD (director of the Duke Division of Gynecologic Oncology and the Duke Cancer Institute Gynecologic Cancer Disease Group) and Angeles Alvarez Secord, MD, MHSc (gynecologic oncologist and associate director of Clinical Research, DCI Gynecologic Cancer Disease Group) for the first time hosted the annual public educational symposium on ovarian cancer via Zoom instead of in person. They covered ovarian cancer screening, prevention, genetic testing, and the latest therapies. In another "first" that year, Bacheler, with family by her side, also presented the symbolic check to Berchhuck via Zoom

The virtual/in-person hybrid 2021 Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Cancer Walk & 5K Run, held during the second summer/fall of the COVID-19 pandemic, saw a slight uptick in registration. (650 people on 67 teams) With COVID-19 vaccines by then widely available, around 350 survivors, families, and friends reunited in person, while nearly 200 chose the virtual option. Most of the other registrants supported teams or individuals with straight donations. All told, participants and supporters raised more than $200,000 last year to support ovarian cancer research at Duke, including studies on the impact of ovarian cancer treatment on quality of life and investigations into how genetic alterations impact disease progression and might suggest potential new therapies.

High community spread of COVID-19 this summer into the fall could still keep would-be in-person participants from traveling for and/or joining the in-person 2022 Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Cancer Walk & 5K Run. So, again this year, there will be a virtual option.

All are invited to form, join or support a team or to register as an individual participant. Advance registration is $40.

In-Person Event

Sanderson High School
5500 Dixon Drive
Raleigh, North Carolina

The competitive 5K run is at 8:30 a.m. Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome but must start behind other runners. Dogs are not allowed on the run.

Survivor recognition will commence at 9:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 10:30 a.m. Strollers, wheelchairs, and dogs are welcome to participate in the walk.

There will not be an educational symposium this year.

In the clip above, Melanie Bacheler, founder of the Gail Parkins Memorial
Ovarian Cancer Walk & 5K, and gynecologic oncologist Brittany Davidson,
MD, are interviewed on WTVD-11 "Perspectives" (Sept. 18) about ovarian
cancer symptoms, Duke Cancer Institute research, and the fun activities
planned for Sept. 24. WTVD-11 is the media sponsor for the event.

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